Being in graduate school full time, and unemployed while I do it, is exposing me to the full force of what passes for college education in America. I have a professor who can best be described as a leftover hippie reject from the 60s. She was living in Berkley in the 1960s, and teaches several of my courses. You will remember her from this post. In some of those courses, she has told us how white men are conspiring to keep woman and minorities down by passing laws that discriminate, and by putting chemicals and hormones in food. She also believes that certain procedures, like vaccinations. should be mandatory, even over the objections of the patient, because the needs of the herd outweigh the desires of the individual. 

Anyway, now that you have some background, let me tell you about our lecture from the other day. We were in class when she began talking about the causes of premature death. The leading causes of death in the United States are:
1 Heart Disease
2 Cancer
3 COPD (Emphysema and Chronic Bronchitis)
4 Stroke
5 Accidents
6 Alzheimer’s
7 Diabetes
8 Flu and Pneumonia
9 Kidney failure
10 Suicide
11 Septicemia (Blood infections)
12  Liver Disease (Hepatitis and Cirrhosis)
13 High Blood Pressure and its complications
14 Parkinson’s
15 Homicide

Fair enough. So then she moved on to the next slide:  Behaviors that cause premature death. It listed:
1 Tobacco Use
2 Poor health maintenance
3 Lack of physical activity
4 Alcohol Abuse
5 Firearms
6 Unsafe sex
7 Car accidents
Then said that the leading causes of death were preventable.

I asked her why ‘firearms’ was the only thing on the list that was an object and not a behavior, and why it was on the list. She told me that I was ‘splitting hairs’ and that firearms were too dangerous for people to own. I then asked her if they were so dangerous, why did death by firearms not make the top ten? Actually, if you take other causes of death out of the blanket ‘suicide’ and ‘homicide’ categories, firearm related deaths don’t even make the top 20.
She replied by telling me that I have a problem with authority. (Actually, my problem is twofold: I have a problem with bullshit, and I don’t think that someone that I have hired to teach me a class has ‘authority’ over me. You, as a professor, are my employee, not my boss.) The fact is that more people died from prescription drug overdose in Florida in 2009 than died in the entire US from firearm related homicide. Perhaps we should be spending time in class trying to avoid THAT instead of railing against guns.
Abraham Lincoln only had a single year of formal education in elementary school. The requirement that you have to have a 4 year degree to enter medical school or even PA school is ridiculous. They don’t even care what the degree is in, just that you have one. They want you indoctrinated in this college socialist bullshit, and it has nothing at all to do with being a good practitioner.

I cannot wait to get out of this environment. I have eight and a half more months of this, and I have to be careful what I say, as the professor has the ultimate power of the gradebook, which could potentially rob me of my $50,000 in tuition, and the hopes of my future career.

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1 Comment

SiGraybeard · March 21, 2012 at 11:46 pm

Your "problem" is that you're "afflicted with the malady of thought". You think too logically and too well to be indoctrinated. I suppose we're all subject to some sort of indoctrination, but this is a clumsy, stupid attempt.

She may have more knowledge of a specific subject area than you have (and can teach you because of that) but you clearly think more logically than she does.

I would quibble over her list of behaviors and how deadly they are, but that's because I'm somewhat of a statistics freak and just about all of the studies I see are surprisingly stupid, even the big ones "Harvard Nurses Study" and the like.

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